Please keep in mind, I'm not blaming Russell for the Raider woes, he's only a part of it, but even those woes go way beyond incomplete passes and a couple fumbles, so as you read this, please keep in mind I don't believe that it's all on him.
I was never a fan of Jamarcus, so upfront I'm confessing that I have no loyalty to the guy in terms of wanting him to succeed, if his success was going to help the Raiders then of course I would be glad for him, however, if tomorrow the Raiders release him and he never plays again, frankly, I'm indifferent to him.
When the Raiders acquired the first pick of the 2007 draft, I heard all the experts say that he was a once-in-a-lifetime player, and that the Raiders couldn't pass him up. I couldn't understand why everyone was so hung up on the guy. Frankly when I hear people raving about a quarterback, and one of the first attributes mentioned is his arm strength or speed instead of accuracy and field vision. I cringe.
Name one Super Bowl winning quarterback that relied on his strength and speed over accuracy and vision? I'll go back the last 20 years of winning Superbowl quarterbacks.
1989-1990 Joe Montana
1991 Jeff Hostetler
1992 Mark Rypien
1993-1994, 1996 Troy Aikman
1995 Steve Young
1997 Brett Favre
1998-1999 John Elway
2000 Kurt Warner
2001 Trent Dilfer
2002, 2004,2005 Tom Brady
2003 Brad Johnson
2006, 2009 Beth Rothlisberger
2007 Peyton Manning
2008 Eli Manning
Which of these quarterbacks were known for their speed and strength, sure Favre and Elway had cannons, but all these quarterbacks had vision, relied on accurate passes, knew how to read coverages, and knew how to find receivers discreetly.
Now look at JaMarcus, his footwork is elementary, his ability to read defenses and coverages is abysmal, his accuracy is remedial at best, not to mention his weight problem, his lack of work ethic (if he had one he wouldn't have a weight problem).
Sure he's tall, and strong, and has a rocket for an arm. If he could throw 60 yard bombs two-to-three times a game, then I'd say that this was an asset to our offense.
But when the guy can't hold on to the ball to save his life, consistently over-throws, or throws to the wrong guy...it's unbelievable how many times he'll stare down his receiver, broadcasting to the world, "Hey, I'm gonna throw it to this guy!"
You teach footwork, accuracy, and work ethic in pee wee football or high school, sometimes you reinforce it in college...but if a guy needs to work on these fundamentals by the time he gets to the pros it's not a good sign.
So...what do we do now? I think at this point just let the guy play, let him get face his demons, and see what he does. The whole concept of saving him, and waiting until we get a line that can protect him, and receivers that can catch. It's never going to happen, remember Raider Nation, no respectable veteran receiver wants to come to Oakland and with Al drafting, he'd have to get really lucky to draft anything competent.
If you're paying the guy now, let him earn his money, if he throws interceptions, or fumbles, that's part of the process. Those of you that were jubilant when his name was called in 2007 on the draft, well, let the guy play.
No respectable quarterback will come to Oakland, and ANY rookie quarterback will probably produce similar results, so what other options do the Raiders have?
I know my take is very gloomy, and I hate that, but in essence I'm making two statements.
1. Russell is an incompetent quarterback that doesn't have the talent to be successful in the pros.
2. The Raider's problems go well beyond a quarterback, and a quarterback change isn't really going to change much anyway.
Next year will be even more painful, at least this year we'll earn a top pick again...lol, but the thought that New England will reap the rewards when the Raiders again get a Top-10 pick...I cringe at the thought...
Just let the guy play, if he sucks, he what did people expect, he never showed he had accuracy or vision in college.
Maybe, just maybe, if he gets beat down enough he'll work harder, and who knows maybe with a little extra work, his accuracy can improve and if maybe after getting interception dozens of times he'll slowly start to learn,
"Oh wait, I got intercepted last time when I threw the ball in this situation, I better just take the sack."
That would be an improvement, and if he doesn't then maybe Al Davis will bite the bullet and dump the guy. It's a win-win for us...